To be fair, it’s not an obvious holiday destination. Some would say that the biggest thing in Tasmania’s favour is that it’s a bloody long way from the UK, meaning that the chances of bumping into a member of the Westminster elite, footballer’s wife or B-list media celebrity are pretty damned remote. But let’s not be cynical, there are plenty of positives other than remoteness, though rumours abound that this is exactly what drew Lord Lucan to those distant shores.
Part of Tasmania’s attraction is its size, or more exactly the lack thereof. Although around half as big as England, in terms of area it comprises just about 1 per cent of Australia as a whole. As such, a trip to Tasmania offers Australia in miniature. Distances are manageable, the climate is tolerable, there are stunning landscapes and even some decent historic buildings.
And then there’s the wildlife. We first started thinking about going to Tasmania after attending lectures from local naturalists at the British Birdwatching Fair. The Apple Isle, it seems, has a wide range of birds (including a number of endemics), both Australian egg-laying mammals, numerous varieties of marsupial … and its very own devil.
It’s well known amongst wildlife enthusiasts that the Tasmanian Devil is in trouble, victim to a contagious cancer that is spreading rapidly through the population thanks to the animals’ love of fighting with each other at every available opportunity. Conservationists are doing their best but numbers are diminishing fast, so the chances of seeing Devils in the wild are receding. It’s time to visit, therefore, to see them in their natural habitat and to find out more about how they can be saved for future generations of animal lovers … in other words, for people just like us.
PHOTO CREDIT: By Mike Lehmann, Mike Switzerland 09:52, 28 February 2007 (UTC) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons